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Goals are Still Relevant

In the last two years I have been noticing a growing number of people who do not set goals goals nor make resolutions. Many are saying that setting goals causes too much stress, sets unrealistic expectations which can cause anxiety. While these statements may be true in part, goal setting is a time honored method of laying out a plan, setting a vision and working towards accomplishing the goal.

In order to be successful at goal setting you must set goals that are realistic and achievable. In addition, these goals must be accompanied by a plan and the discipline necessary to achieve the goal. Last year I wrote a series of blog posts on setting goals and how to achieve those goals. You can find those posts by clicking here  and here . Failure to accomplish goals are often a result of a lack of discipline and planning as well as poor execution. It is said that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Others say that those who fail to plan are in fact planning to fail. Plans are the blueprint for goals.

As we progress into 2019 take the time to sit and set goals for yourself. Make sure they are things that you genuinely want to work on over the course of the year as you are more likely to accomplish them if it’s something you want to do. Then, plan the steps necessary to accomplish these goals and decide what order you are going to tackle these goals.

As a multifaceted being, my aim is to grow in all areas of my life therefore I set goals for various areas of my life. Areas such as spiritual, financial, relationship, physical and career. Spiritual goals encourage me to grow closer to Christ. Financial goals serve to keep me on track towards achieving my goal of early retirement. Relationship goals help me to learn and grow in my marriage and how to relate to others. I use physical/health goals as an opportunity to work on improving my overall health. My career goals have guided me and have grown with me as I have advanced in my field. These goals can be as simple as increasing my water consumption throughout the year or as complex as learning Spanish to broaden the patient population that I serve.

Although I am not where I would like to be I press on towards becoming the best version of me. Tackling my goals and plans one at a time. Do you have goals/plans for 2019? Drop a comment below and let me know the answer to these questions or if you believe that we shouldn’t put such an emphasis on goals. Do you believe that goals are still relevant?

The Hidden Deficiency

Several years ago, I began experiencing a series of symptoms that neither I or my doctors could explain.  I was exhausted all the time, even with adequate rest.  My mind was foggy and I was having difficulty comprehending what I was reading. In addition to those symptoms, my body hurt all over, all the time.  I had pains in my bones and my muscles. Doctors tested me for a variety of diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease and suggested that I had Fibromyalgia.  But, all the test results were negative.  In fact, I had something much more common and treatable than any of those diseases.  I was deficient in Vitamin D.  No wonder I was feeling so lousy.  My result showed my levels had dropped to 8 ng/ml.  Normal levels of vitamin D range from 30-100 ng/ml.

woman wearing white topPhoto by Garon Piceli on Pexels.com

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you too could be vitamin D deficient. Every year over 3 million Americans are diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency and there are an estimated 1 billion people around the world that suffer from this deficiency.  This number is expected to grow as we spend more time inside and less in direct sunlight.  Additionally, in recent years there has been increased focus on the use of sunscreen which decreases the absorption of vitamin D.  Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest rates (31%) with only a 3% incidence in non-Hispanic whites.  Adequate levels of Vitamin D are associated with bone and teeth health and reduced levels of inflammation.  Low levels of vitamin D may contribute to glucose intolerance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, severe asthma, cognitive impairment, obesity, high blood pressure, brittle bones and certain forms of cancer.

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Continue reading “The Hidden Deficiency”

When Temptation Knocks at the Door

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Photo by Christopher Flowers on Unsplash

Does it ever feel like the entire world is against you and that no matter what you tried, nothing worked?  Well, that described my day today.  It started out on a good note and finished on a bad note.  Through it all, I think I managed to stick to my plan.  It was somewhat of a stressful day in that almost nothing went according to schedule.  I arrived at work early, parked far away, and took the stairs from the parking garage to the lower level where my office is located.  I ate both breakfast and lunch at work and made healthy choices at both meals.  As the day progressed so did the level of my stress.

My phone would not stop ringing.  People stopped in to ask questions, emails kept coming and through it all, I had a project I was trying to finish.  On top of all of this, I spent about one and a half hours waiting in line on two separate occasions to resolve an issue simply because someone would not listen.  The irony is that the issue could have been resolved in 10 minutes had they listened.  It was no wonder that when quitting time came i could not leave. I had to remain at work for an additional two hours charting.  I was not a happy camper.  I was hangry.  You know hungry and angry at the same time.  Lunch had been 6 hours earlier and my stomach was rising up in protest letting me know that it was not happy about that fact.  I wanted to eat everything that was in my way but thankfully the only thing available was chocolate of which I am not a big fan (more on that one later) and peanuts which I did not want either.

I realized that I was dangerously close to buying french fries (one of my temptation foods) and knew that had I yielded to the temptation all the hard work for the day would have been in vain.  Before we go any further let me set the record straight.  I am not against french fries, nor any foods for that matter.   I believe that most foods can be part of a balanced diet if consumed in moderation.  But let’s be honest I love french fries and would eat them every day all day if I could but this is not healthy.   I had made healthy choices at breakfast and lunch and all that success would have been sacrificed if I had taken the trip to the cafeteria.  I wanted to get the fries and found many reasons why I should have them.  It was the battle of the century until I realized that I was literally sabotaging the weight loss plans/goals that i had made to improve my health.  How crazy was that?  Eventually reason won out and I gained the victory.  I chose to have yogurt instead of french fries.  One hundred calories versus 380 calories.  Score one for me.

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Photo by kayleigh harrington on Unsplash

This experience has taught me that stress is one of my triggers to eat.   They say to be warned is to be forearmed.  Now that I know that stress is one of my triggers I must make changes and develop strategies to handle my stress that does not involve food.  Things such as listening to music, burning candles, prayer, meditating, going for a walk, drinking water, and dancing are just some of the other ways to handle stress.  This is just one of my many triggers but it is one chink in a weakened armor that has been fixed.  I am ready to wage war a little safer knowing that a hole in my defense is mended.  Continue setting your goals and developing your plans.  Post a comment let me know what’s going on with you.  What struggles are you facing?  Continue the journey as we choose to live revived.

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Goal Setting Part 2: Are you S.M.A.R.T.E.R than your Problems?

 In order to make effective plans, you must take the time to think, pray, meditate and consider what you want to accomplish. Fitzhugh Dodson said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” Today we will focus on setting your own goals and we are going to do so using the acronym SMARTER.  The idea of SMARTER goals was developed by Paul J. Meyer for use in business but has been adopted for use in many areas.  Let us begin setting our goals!
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S-Specific
Being specific means you have to be brave enough to tell yourself the truth.  Many live in denial about the state of their health and it is not until confronted with an illness that they accept the truth of their condition.  Being specific calls for us to admit that we have a problem and actually name the problem.  Unless you are specific and admit to the problem you cannot defeat the problem.  Example:  I want to lose 30 pounds means accepting and admitting that I am 30 pounds overweight and as such is at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and death to name a few.  It means coming clean not just to myself but to others who love me and want the best for me.  If you name it, it becomes real, not nebulous.
M-Measurable

Measurable goals are great because you can track them and, for those who love math, they can be quantified. It is easy to track progress when you have a measure to compare it against. For each pound I lose, I can subtract it from the number that I want to attain and see how far I have come but also how far I have to go.  As one friend pointed out to me the other day, slow progress is still progress.

 A- Attainable 
Attainable goals are goals that can be achieved. It may seem that my goal of losing 30 pounds is impossible but I believe all things are possible. I also know that we must divide our goals in to bite size pieces. They say you eat the elephant one bite at a time and in achieving your goals you must also choose to take it in bite-size pieces. It will be necessary to set long-term goals and short-term goals. My long-term goal is to lose 30 pounds but my short-term goal is to lost 10 pounds. The ten-pound weight loss is very achievable and in a short enough time to keep me motivated. Choosing to have a short-term goal is recommended as this is useful in developing “sticktoitness”.  When only long-term goals are made people turn back or stop the journey because it seems they are not making progress.  Do you remember taking road trips? Designating points along the way to serve as markers to let you know that you were close to your destination.  Short-term goals are points on the journey that lets you know the end is drawing near.
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R-Relevant

Just as we strive to be relevant in our professional lives, our goals should be relevant to who we are and who we would like to become. Losing weight is relevant to me because I want to be healthier and I want more energy. I know from past experience that when I work out and lose weight I feel so much better. I remember discussing the benefits of exercise with a friend of mine and remarking that even the days seem to have more hours in them when I exercise because I accomplish more in shorter amounts of time.

T-Time-Bound 
 All goals require time limits. Without specifying realistic time limits we would set goals that are unattainable and as a result, would become discouraged.  There is a saying that says “to everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven”.  To choose realistic time limits we must carefully study to see how long tasks are supposed to take.  If you assign too little time to complete a task you will set your self up for failure.  The converse is true.  If you give too much time to accomplish a task you could waste time that could be spent working on other goals.  It is safe to lose 1-2 pounds per week.  Losing 30 pounds should take about
ut 30 weeks.  I need to assign myself a short-term goal of 10 pounds in 3 months and renew that goal after each 3 month period.
E-Evaluate

We should take time to evaluate our goals to ensure that we are achieving the desired results. Take time to review the goal, time limits, and plan to see if it meets the needs of what you are trying to accomplish. If your plan does not fully meet your needs, you will need to adjust your plans.  If the time allotted is sufficient, you should be making progress

R-Re-evaluate

Re-evaluate as often as is necessary to stay on course.

  • Example: I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months so that I can walk with less knee pain. After 1 month evaluate your plan. You should be halfway to your goal. If you are not making the progress that you desire, re-evaluate your plan and adjust your work out or your diet to ensure its effectiveness.

Congratulations on taking the next step in becoming a healthier you so that you can live revived!

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Goal Setting Part 1: Planning Makes Perfect

I  heard a story once about a guy who sketched the plans for his house on a paper towel.  He ordered the necessary materials and began to build.  After digging the basement, work began on the foundation.  As the foundation progressed, he realized that his plans were way off.  If he were to continue, the house would not be able to support the weight of the walls and roof.  He consulted professional plans, a contractor, adjusted his plans, and was able to build a very beautiful and safe home.

As we make our plans today, let’s remember that plans are subject to change and require flexibility.  It is not uncommon to make plans for the future and find out that the time needed to accomplish the task was more than anticipated.  It is also not uncommon to learn that you could accomplish a task in less time than was previously planned.  Planning is not just about the destination it is also about the journey.  How you handle the bumps in the road (setbacks) will determine how successful your plan will be.

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

The first step in any planning process is to determine what you are trying to accomplish and how best to arrive there.  Let’s take for example weight loss. If you are trying to lose weight you would need to determine the necessary steps to lose the weight.

  1. Determine how much weight you want to lose
  2. Determine what steps you are going to take to lose the weight
    • change eating habits
      • drink more water
      • less fat
      • more fiber etc.
    • exercise
      • what type?
      • how often
      • when will you exercise?
      • where will you exercise?
      • Will you have a partner? If so who?
    • get enough rest
      • set a bedtime
  3. Determine length of time to accomplish the goal
    • month
    • 6 months
    • one year
  4. Set short term and long term goals (we will be dealing with goal setting in our next post)
    • 5 pounds in 2 months
    • 30 pounds in a year
  5. Determine how you will reward yourself
    • never use food as a reward
    • get your nails done
    • get a massage
    • buy a new book
    • buy a new pair of shoes
    • go to a concert
  6. Develop a contingency plan:  what will you do if you have a bad day?
    • Don’t throw in the towel begin again tomorrow
    • Everyone falls down at times, the key is not to stay down but to rise again and do battle
  7. When will you begin?
    • Begin today. Even if you only change one thing, it will bring you one step closer to accomplishing your goals
To succeed you must take the time to develop a plan.  Luke 14:28-33 says that in order to build a tower (building) you need to first count the cost (make a plan).  Your assignment today is to work on a plan for what habit you are trying to overcome.  If you have questions post a comment and I will respond.  We will be talking about goal setting in our next session.  Until our next session happy planning!

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash